Sundanese Print Culture and Modernity in 19th-century West Java
Publisher : NUS Press
Pages : 287pg
Author : Mikhiro Moriyama
Sundanese Prints Culture traces the development of modern printed books written in Sundanese, the dominant language in West Java, Indonesia and the mother tongue of about 30 million peoples. Starting with the "discovery" of the Sundanese by Europeans in the early 19th century, Mikhiro Moriyama follows the development in the ensuing century when a small group of Dutch scholars and colonial officials reshaped the language and its literature over the next one hundred years. Schools taught Sundanese and printed materials based on western concepts began to influence indigenous writing and oral tradition, The imposition of European standards of literary aesthetics shaped a modernity that rejected traditional knowledge in favour of rational and empirical paradigms. Interest in traditional poetry and its mythologies declined, and new forms of prose, including novels, captured the attention of the reading public. These material promoted useful knowledge and morality, and encouraged deference and loyalty towards colonial authority.
Early in the 20th century, the establishment of the Commissie voor de Inlandsche School- en Volkslectuur (Commitee for Indigenous Schoolbooks and Popular Reading Books), a government-subsidised institution,provided the growing number of literate people in the Indies with 'good' and 'appropriate' reading material. Its development marked the end of an era when Sundanese writing competed with Western-style schools and publications, and signalled the triumph of the new colonial modernity.